It is difficult for laws to keep pace with evolving technology. Matters are further complicated by dangerously flawed court decisions, such as the recent ruling by a United States federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, who found that a defendant “did not possess a reasonable expectation of privacy in his computer.”
This American decision does not directly impact Canadians, but it highlights a frightening trend toward giving law enforcement excessive and disproportionate powers in the cyber world. It also emphasizes why lawmakers in both countries need to get in front of privacy and search issues instead of leaving matters in the hands of courts that may apply outdated precedents due to poor understanding of modern technology.
As Mark Rumold of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote, “the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone’s rights.”
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